A top adviser to 5-hour Energy founder Manoj Bhargava was given a rare pardon in 2014 by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, according to the Associated Press.
Snyder pardoned Alan Gocha Jr. in December following the Michigan parole board’s recommendation, “one of only 11 pardons out of roughly 750 applications since the governor took office,” the AP reported.
Gocha, who received the pardon for a 2007 drunken-driving arrest, is a lawyer at the Oakland Law Group that works on behalf of the companies that oversee 5-hour Energy. He has held other positions at a Bhargava investment firm, ETC Capital, as well.
Snyder denied that politics had anything to do with Gocha’s pardon.
“He never contributed to my campaign, not had any financial connection at all,” Snyder told the AP.
As the Center for Public Integrity reported Thursday, companies associated with Bhargava have given more than $5.3 million since 2009 to help candidates running for state office nationwide.
In October 2013, ETC Capital gave $275,000 to the Republican Governors Association, then eight weeks later the governors’ association gave $276,000 to the Michigan Republican Party.
In August 2014, the investment company gave $2.5 million to the governors' group, which paid $3.2 million on the same day to the media company it used to place ads backing Snyder. The RGA spent an estimated $7.4 million on ads helping Snyder, a Republican, win re-election in 2014.
The timing of ETC Capital’s contributions to the Republican Governors Association raises questions about whether its money was earmarked for Michigan, and ultimately benefited Snyder. The RGA did not respond to questions about the donations.